Erectile Dysfunction (ED)


ED (Impotence) affects 15 million to 30 million men in the United States. Often, the first manifestations of atherosclerotic disease are erectile dysfunction; high blood pressure also raises the risk of ED.

Impotence is often the result of vascular disease, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease are commonly found in patients with erectile dysfunction. These include obesity, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, smoking, inactivity, endothelial dysfunction, elevated C-reactive protein concentration, and the metabolic syndrome. Moreover, impotence should be viewed as a sign that other cardiovascular problems may manifest in the future, and that diet and lifestyle changes to help prevent these problems are essential.

In a clinical trial, a low-fat, plant-based diet combined with exercise resulted in normal sexual function in 31% of impotent men compared with about 5% in the control group. This combination also significantly reduced several vascular risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, elevated serum lipids, and elevated blood glucose and insulin concentrations.

Dietary supplements are NOT a substitute for a healthful diet and lifestyle because they do not address the cause of vascular disorders.

More than 200 commonly prescribed medication result in ED as a prominent side effect. These include thiazides, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, ketoconazole and appetite suppressants. Excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, “Ecstasy” and other recreational drugs can cause ED, which may be irreversible in some cases.

Excess body fat contributes to ED by increasing estrogen activity and aggravating diabetes and lipid disorders.

Insights from a Nourish Health Patient:

“I asked to not use my full name, but I can assure you, I am real; Dr. Sigal calls ED the “canary in the coalmine”. And that’s exactly how it was for me, before I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and then diabetes type 2. I had put on 50 lbs. Once I switched to the plant based diet, the weight started to come off – made sense to me: I was always eating so much cheese, and now I understood where all the fat was coming from. I actually came off my diabetes medications, too. And then, one morning, I woke up and it was like “the good old times”. I was thrilled.”

B. T. Topsfield
October 2013